He returned to the phone. “Sorry.”
“Who was that?”
“Someone wanted to know if I was interested in a massage.”
“Yes. Calvin sometimes hires people to give massages. He must have sent someone up here to ask if I wanted one.”
The eggnog from earlier was starting to come up on me. “So it was just a random girl coming into your room to give you a massage?”
“Amelia…I didn’t ask for one, nor did I want one. I sent her away. I can’t help it if someone knocks on my door.”
“Have you ever had one?”
His tone was angry. “No!”
“I can’t handle this.”
“I get why a strange woman coming to my hotel room door would piss you off, alright? But you either trust me, or you don’t. Trust is a black or white issue. There is no such thing as trusting someone a little. It’s either there, or it isn’t. Fuck. I thought you trusted me.”
“I do! I never said I didn’t trust you. It’s just…that lifestyle makes me uncomfortable. And I’m lonely. I don’t know if this is the kind of life I want.”
“What exactly are you saying?”
“I don’t know.” I said, my voice barely audible.
There was a long moment of silence as I listened to his breathing. Then, he finally spoke, “I can’t even see the faces of the people in the audience. When I’m singing, I’m singing to you, counting down the days till I come home. Wouldn’t that just be a fucking hoot if there was nothing left to come home to.”
Why haven’t you told me you loved me?
I’d really pissed him off. I needed to end the call before I said something further that I’d regret.
“You have two big shows coming up. You can’t afford to get all stressed out. I’m sorry for causing a fight.”
“I’m sorry, too.”
“I’m gonna try to get some sleep.”
“Alright,” he said.
After we hung up, I had a hard time falling back to sleep. Ending the call on bad terms made me feel like shit. I thought I couldn’t feel any worse.
The events of the following morning would make the previous night’s argument seem vastly insignificant.
Call it mother’s intuition.
Something woke me up, even though it was quiet. The clock showed nearly 4AM.
As I tried to fall back to sleep a few minutes later, what sounded like light wheezing came through the baby monitor; you could barely hear it.
Panicking, I hopped out of bed so fast that it made me lightheaded. Running down the hall to Bea’s room, it felt like my heart was in my mouth as I practically tripped over my own feet.
Everything seemed to be happening so fast, yet at the same time, they were the longest, scariest moments of my life. Bea was struggling to breathe, her little eyes looking up at me helplessly. She was choking but unable to cough. My mind raced as I scrambled to remember the steps from the infant CPR class I’d taken back in Providence.
Turning her face over my forearm, I held her jaw with one hand to support her head. I slapped her back five times between her shoulder blades. She still couldn’t breathe, and nothing came out.
Turning her face up, I placed two fingers in the middle of her chest and pressed down in quick thrusts. The object still wouldn’t dislodge. I ran with her to my room to grab my phone and dialed 911. I couldn’t even remember what I’d said to the operator because when Bea became unresponsive, I was losing my own ability to breathe.
I alternated between back blows and chest compressions as the dispatcher guided me. The object finally flew out of her mouth, and I realized it was one of the small bulbs from my sweater. It must have fallen into her crib.
While the bulb had come out, Bea was unconscious.
The next thing I knew, sirens were blaring. I ran downstairs with her to let them in. Men rushed into the room. They began performing CPR on my baby girl.
My entire life hung in the balance as I watched helplessly, paralyzed by fear. It was no different than being unconscious myself.
When one of the EMTs indicated that she was breathing again, it was as if I’d come back from the dead. Tears streaming down my eyes blinded me from getting a clear view as they put her onto a stretcher and directed me to get into the ambulance. Because she’d been unconscious for so long, she needed to be taken to the hospital for treatment and to ensure that there wasn’t any brain damage or internal injuries.
Still in my sleep sweats with no coat, I sat in the ambulance alongside her as one of the men held an oxygen mask over her face.
Too shook up to speak, I typed out a series of choppy texts to Justin.
Bea is alive.
Choked on a small ornament.
Got it out.
EMTs performed CPR.
In ambulance heading to hospital.
Within seconds, my phone rang. It had to be one-thirty in the morning in L.A.
Justin’s voice was shaky. “Amelia? I got your message. Oh my God. Is she okay?”
“I don’t know. She’s conscious and breathing. I just don’t know if there was any other damage.”
“Can you see her? Is she with you?”
“Yes. She’s got an oxygen mask over her face, but her eyes are open. I think she’s scared.”
I heard rustling then he said, “I’m getting on the next flight out there.”
Still in shock, I was silent.
His voice seemed to be fading into the distance. “Amelia? Are you there? Hang in there, baby. She’s going to be okay. She will.”
“Okay,” I whispered through my tears.
“Where are they taking her?”
“Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.”
“Call me as soon as you know anything.”
“Be strong, Amelia. Please.”
Those first few hours waiting with Bea in the intensive care unit were excruciating, truly the scariest of my life.
They had her hooked up to an IV and were giving her oxygen. The doctors ran a series of tests to check for internal injuries and neurological problems. Apparently, after respiratory failure, there could actually be delayed brain injury that wasn’t apparent right away. It would be a while before all of the results came in.
With no clear prognosis, my silent prayers were non-stop. I begged God to spare my baby from any irreversible damage. Bea was sleeping a lot, probably exhausted from all of the trauma, so it was hard to gauge how she was really doing.
She was able to open her eyes, though, and I had to be grateful for that and for the fact that she was alive and breathing. Thank God I’d randomly woken up when I did. If I had gotten to her room even a minute later, the outcome could have been very different. I couldn’t even bear to think about that. Someone was definitely watching over us last night. Until I had answers, I had to just focus on the positive—the fact that she was alive—and continue to pray.
It was mid-morning now, and I hadn’t moved from my spot at Bea’s side. I was afraid to even go to the bathroom so as not to miss the doctor coming in with information. A nice nurse finally forced me to go get something to drink and to use the bathroom. She promised to watch Bea and assured me that nothing would happen while I was gone.
In the bathroom just off of the nurse’s station, tears began to pour out of my eyes. Riddled with guilt, I was finally losing it. If it weren’t for that stupid sweater and my carelessness, none of this would have ever happened. How could I not have checked her crib before I put her down? Forcing myself to get it together, I needed to put on a strong front before returning to my daughter. She was intuitive; I couldn’t let her sense my fear.